The 14 Pole

The 14 Pole

Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010
2:58 PM
By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

Thats not my heritage, although it is numerically correct, but where we stand in this NFL season. For us fantasy geeks, it presents the proper time to assess where we stand. I always expect doom, my Philly heritage is never far away, but my team, at 3-1, might surprise, so Ill give it time before I blow it up. The great thing about the NFL is that there have been a lot of surprises, Randy Moss, and more sure to come. No surprise though, that I have some opinions and here they come, its time to go through the 32 teams in 32 sentences.

Ill start with the AFC and New England, no Moss, no matter, Brady will still light it up and how could you not love Woodhead? Miami has a passing game with Marshall as the beast and Bess as a guy who should not be on your waiver wire. I think the Sanchise is the real deal for the Jets, but Id be afraid of over-use of L.T. early, leading to a late-season collapse. If youre a team that is awful, like the Bills, how could you not be playing your 1st round RB, who everyone loves, more than 10 snaps a game? (Free Spiller!) Why I still like Vince Young I dont understand, just like I dont understand the Titans offense. Peyton Manning creates fantasy monsters and in Indy this year, Austin Collie is the one. With all of the focus on the Houston aerial attack, it figures that Arian Foster is the RB with the most up-side this year.

If you see a JAX next to any player that is on your opposition, laugh out loud! Pittsburgh will always be known for its D, and its once again one of the top scoring units, a solid fantasy base. The Ravens offense to me is about as dangerous as any ones, the problem is that with so many weapons, who to take? I would normally not even consider any one playing for Cleveland, but this year Im on the Hillis Highway! In the Queen City, you live with Cedric Benson, then, you die with him! Can you imagine a Chargers game without Gates dominating? Oakland will always be a mess, but when youre mining for gold, youll find Zach Miller. I know the Chiefs are undefeated, but thats not going to last long, and neither will you if you have to depend on one of them to be your stud, besides Jamaal Charles, that is. In Denver, and in fantasy circles, neck-beards are the rage in honor of our throwing-machine, Kyle Orton!

In the NFC, I guess it will take some time here in Chicago for the Martz Express to get untracked! (LOL!) In Detroit, Mega-Tron is my boy, but if you want a sleeper, Id be all over a tight-end with a large up-side, and backside, Jumbo-Tron! Could you imagine if you wasted a high pick on the Vikings diva Brett Favre? My pick for highest point total this year, is the Packers Aaron Rogers and part of the reason is that he has my tight end, Jermichael Finley to throw to. A Warner-less offense in Arizona, means a total mess for anyone who owns a Cardinal. Picking a player from Seattle means that you trust Pete Carroll, and I do not! San Franciscos fantasy output so far reminds me of Singletarys favorite saying: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

In St. Louis, I must be losing my mind, but I think a rookie QB can be a fantasy team savior. In New Orleans, its all about playing Brees roulette, who will he throw to today? Carolinas has always been about the RBs and this year is no different, but the real Steve Smith just disappearing? The Falcons Matt Ryan would be my fantasy comeback player of the year, if there was such a thing. Heres a fantasy football equation: Tampa bay = Abyss. If the Giants could play the Bears every week, they would have the highest scoring defense of all-time, but I just think its a matter of time before they quit on their coach. Everyone wants my opinion about McNabb, in Washington and in fantasy, and in both instances, hell be just good enough to get you beat. That being said, it looks like hes going to be better than any QB option in Philly, where I dont think Vick will stay healthy, and who wants a QB, Kolb, who has the nickname Captain Check-down? And last, and definitely least, I will never, ever have any Cowboy on my team, not rooting against Dallas, for me, wouldnt be right and that is where my fantasy is a reality!

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Fast Break Morning Update: Bulls explode offensively to beat Bucks; Blackhawks battle Lightning tonight on CSN

Here are some of the top Chicago sports stories from a busy Sunday: 

Tonight on CSN: Blackhawks look to bounce back vs. Lightning

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Today on CSN: White Sox battle Dodgers in spring training game

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

Will lopsided loss shake Blackhawks from their slumber?

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

Joe Maddon doesn’t have any concerns about new Cubs closer Wade Davis

Nick Delmonico takes advantage of fresh start with White Sox

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Owners to consider on and off field changes this week during NFL meetings

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

From ‘When It Happens’ to ‘Where It Happens,’ Cubs mining next generation of talent

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs turned Theo Epstein’s “Baseball is Better” speech from his first Wrigley Field press conference into a marketing pitch that might distract fans for a moment from an awful big-league product.          

The 2017 “That’s Cub” ad campaign actually uses what started organically years ago within the farm system, two words that recognized a great at-bat or a heads-up play or a defensive stop.    

Business vs. baseball is no longer the dominant storyline it had been during the early phases of the Wrigleyvile rebuild. Business and baseball are booming for what’s become Major League Baseball’s version of the Golden State Warriors.

It’s just interesting that a franchise valued at north of $2 billion has found so much inspiration on the back fields of this spring-training complex, where staffers you wouldn’t recognize get to work before dawn and players you’ve never heard of dream about their big break.

It’s not just drafting Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. And trading for Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Addison Russell. And hiring a manager obsessed with T-shirts. Baseball operations became a marketing department, selling prospects to Cub fans, the Chicago media and the gurus putting together the rankings – and trying to get buy-in from players who all think they belong in The Show.

Minor-league field coordinator Tim Cossins gets credit for “When It Happens,” a theme that didn’t simply revolve around 1908 and the championship drought. Jason McLeod, the senior vice president who oversees scouting and player development, suggested pairing the W flag with that phrase, and it became this ubiquitous idea around the team.   

“We tied everything into it,” McLeod said Sunday at Sloan Park. “When that time comes, when it happens, can you lay the bunt down? When it happens, can you execute a pitch? Can you go in and pinch-run, steal the base when the time comes?

“The big ‘When It Happens’ is when we win, of course, but for us in (player development), it was about everything that we’re going to be asked to do in that moment: Are you going to be ready when it happens?”

Now what? The defending World Series champs are going with: “Where It Happens.”

A bullet point from Epstein’s bio in this year’s media guide references how his first three first-round draft picks with the Cubs “combined to set up the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series when Schwarber singled and (Albert) Almora pinch-ran, moved to second on Bryant’s deep fly to center, and scored on Ben Zobrist’s double.”

“We’re never going to forget about the importance of young players,” Epstein said. “There’s definitely a lot of talented, interesting prospects still in the system and sometimes they get a little overshadowed because of the star young players we have at the big-league level and how quickly some of those guys moved through the system. But there’s a lot of talent there.

“We’re going to lean on young players beyond our prospects, not just in trades, but also to provide organizational depth and also to serve as the next generation, the next infusion of talent at the appropriate time.

“But it’s a process. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs in development for all these guys. And we have a ton of faith in our player development operation to help these guys along the way.”

So Ian Happ will start the season one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa and see if some combination of injuries and his switch-hitting skills and defensive versatility gets him to the North Side at some point. Or used as a trade chip for pitching, the way third baseman Jeimer Candelario and catcher Victor Caratini appear to be blocked.

Joe Maddon already compared Eloy Jimenez – who can’t legally buy a beer in Wrigleyville yet – to a young Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Martinez. The Cubs are practically begging for someone like Eddie Butler to pitch his way into the 2018 rotation.

By Monday morning, when the full squad reconvenes after a weekend trip to Las Vegas, the Cubs could start making cuts and shaping their Opening Night roster. But the Cubs are going to need so much more than the 25 players who will be introduced next Sunday at Busch Stadium. Maddon used 26 pitchers and 149 different lineups last season. This is “Where It Happens.”

“If this particular group of youngsters were in a different organization that had a greater need right now, you’d probably hear a lot more about these guys,” Maddon said. “But the fact that they’re stuck behind a Bryant and a Russell and a Javy (Baez) and a Rizzo and a (Willson) Contreras and a Schwarber, et cetera, et cetera, it becomes more difficult to really push or project upon these guys.

“But I think these young guys have gone about their business really well. If it’s bothering them or if they’re concerned about that, they’re not showing that. I think they’ve put their best foot forward.”